A reader recently left me a note that I wanted to share:
A lot of people, including myself, struggle when it comes to “me” time. All of a sudden, I feel guilty because I know I could be doing something productive. And when I have a lot on my plate, that free time is somehow poisoned with guilt, and it’s not even worth it. So, I go on until I’m all burnt out and then I need a break. What advice would you give to someone who feels everything in their schedule is a priority?
I can totally relate to this comment. In today’s fast-paced business environment managing work and home demands can be a challenge. Then add to it our technology driven society and the need to “always be “on” and it can lead to loss of balance and guilt and burnout.
I will admit, I don’t have all the answers to balance here. But there are a few things that I do (or that I try to do) to help reduce the negative self-talk and guilt. The first thing is that I try to create a perfect morning routine. At least, my version of perfect. I’ve always said that the rest of my day is out of my control, but I can usually control my morning, so I’ll make it what I want it to be.
If you like that idea, I recently read an article over on Michael Hyatt’s blog titled “What You Do Right Before Bed Determines How Productive and Focused You’ll Be Tomorrow” and it focuses on developing an evening routine. I could get into this concept very much. My perfect evening routine involves tea.
Regular readers of HR Bartender know a couple of years ago, I took Arianna Huffington’s online “Thrive” course. She provided some great insights about how “High Performance Involves Taking Care of Yourself”. One of the things I try to remember when struggling with “me” time is that I’m doing this – meaning taking time for myself – so I can be a better worker.
Another time where I deliberately place extra emphasis on taking care of myself is when I travel. It’s so easy to eat poorly, not get enough sleep, etc. This all has an impact on well-being. Here’s a list of 10 Ways to Improve Your Business Travel Experience and take better care of yourself.
But taking care of us can’t always happen outside of work. On the job, managing stress is important. I love the advice of Srikumar Rao on “How to Reduce Individual Stress Levels at Work”. And in this article I’ve listed Resources on Mindfulness and Stress Reduction from Pandit Dasa, author of the book, “Urban Monk”.
Finally, I recently saw someone reading this book on a plane. Then, it shows up on Laurie Ruettimann’s HR Book Club reading list. So it must be good (and I need to pick it up) – Jen Sincero’s “You are a Badass: How to stop doubting your greatness and start living an awesome life”. Because sometimes we need someone to tell those voices inside our head to stop it.
I hope these resources are helpful in the never-ending quest for balance. I really wish there was some sort of magic formula to reducing the stressors in our lives. Unfortunately, I think it involves a lot of trying things and seeing if they work. That in itself can be incredible fun.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby after speaking at the HR Technology Conference in Las Vegas, NV14